GVSU women's tennis wins GLIAC Tournament, finishes fall season undefeated
The Grand Valley State women’s tennis team traveled to Midland, Michigan, this weekend to participate in the GLIAC Tournament. For the second time in program history, the Lakers took home the GLIAC Tournament title after sweeping the competition Friday, Oct. 27, through Sunday, Oct. 29.
GVSU women’s tennis coach John Black knew his team had to enter each matchup with a certain mental toughness coming into the weekend tournament.
“Our game plan was to be ready for an extremely tough match every single match," Black said. "Go hard in doubles, play aggressive and hopefully get a lead, then continue that strong play into singles, and this team did a great job this weekend.”
In the quarterfinals Friday, the Lakers took on Ashland University. The Lakers dominated their matchup, winning 5-0. On the doubles side, the No. 1 pairing of Allie Sweeney and Aimee Moccia defeated the No. 1 doubles team from Ashland 8-2. The No. 2 doubles team for GVSU, Madi Ballard and Nicole Heiniger, won their matchup 8-3. Rounding out the doubles was No. 3 Abby Perkins and Liv Christman, who won their matchup in 8-0 fashion.
On the singles side of the competition, Perkins won her match in two sets, 6-1 and 6-2. Heiniger also won her matchup in two sets, 6-2 and 6-0, respectively.
The Lakers moved on to the semifinals Saturday to take on Tiffin University. The Lakers continued their strong weekend, winning this matchup 5-2. In doubles, the duo of Sweeney and Moccia won the matchup 8-4. Ballard and Heiniger lost a tight match 9-8, and Perkins and Christman won the finals double match 8-1.
It was much of the same for GVSU in the singles matches. Ballard won the first match for the Lakers in two sets, 6-3 and 6-2. Moccia dominated her match in two sets, 6-0 and 6-0. Perkins went all three sets but won her matchup 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. Christman dropped the last matchup for the Lakers, 6-2 and 6-1.
The Lakers moved on to play in the finals Sunday for the GLIAC Championship. They took on Wayne State and won 5-3 to become GLIAC champions.
GVSU continued their big weekend in doubles. Sweeney and Moccia won the first doubles match 8-3. Ballard and Heiniger won their match 8-4. The duo of Perkins and Christman lost a close match 9-7.
In the singles bracket, Sweeney lost her match in two sets, 6-3 and 6-4. Perkins won in two sets, 7-6 and 6-3. Liv Hanover lost in two sets, 7-6 and 6-1. Heiniger dominated her matchup in two sets, 6-1 and 6-0. In the final match for the Lakers, Moccia dropped the first set in her match 6-3 but managed to fight back and win the next two sets 6-4 and 6-2. This match was the clincher for the GLIAC Championship.
Although there is much to give praise about, Black knows there’s still certain things the team must fix to reach their true potential.
“Keep working on shot selection,” Black said. “Keep working on being aggressive in doubles at the net. Keep working on team play. It's (a) long season, and we are only at the halfway point; we have a lot more to go next semester.”
Senior Moccia believes this successful fall season and this past weekend’s performance will help the team and the program grow stronger and better going into the next season.
“I think it gave us a lot more confidence, and we needed that,” Moccia said. “We always came so close every year, and this just helped us a lot. This just proved to us that we are good enough to beat any team and do anything. So, we will take that with us into next season and getting us even closer to getting through regionals and getting to nationals.”
The GVSU women’s tennis team finished their fall season this weekend and will not be in competition again until the spring season. However, the team will still continue training and practicing until then.